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Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Happens Next? Written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Marc Boutavant.Candlewick Press, Random House. 2012. $11.00 ages 2 and up

"Here's a hungry chameleon.
Here's a juicy grasshopper.


The chameleon shoots out his
long, long tongue,
and the sticky end catches
the grasshopper. THWAP!"

This is the next in the Flip the Flap and Find Out series from the prolific pen of Nicola Davies, biologist and author of wonderful books for young readers. Her nonfiction stands out for me in its accessibility and its clear and honest research.

Children are intrigued with animals and Ms. Davies uses that interest to hone great books that offer information that is easily digested and remembered by even the youngest listeners. In this book, she looks at a chameleon, a beaver, a bee, a peacock and a chimp. The repetitive question that follows each of these creatures doing something very ordinary in their lives leads children to infer answers and then check them out to see if they were right. It's a entertaining game for them.

Once again, Marc Boutavant provides brightly colored digital artwork that makes clear the actions. The flip pages match up perfectly from one scene to the next, where the results of the actions are clearly shared. There is an abundance of detail that will afford opportunity to peruse and discuss the events. As well, the final double page spread encourages a retelling using visual clues. Finally, there is a flap to flip that concerns someone just like the person reading this book.

This is a series that I recommend highly as a birthday gift to that child who loves informative text, and books that allow for thinking critically and the sharing of ideas. They would also be a great addition to school and classroom libraries. Well done!

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